Photo First same sex proposal captured by Paparazzi.

First same sex proposal captured by Paparazzi.

Changing the world, one proposal at a time.

Ever wanted to share in someone’s special moment? See the look on their face when their partner gets down on one knee and pulls out a ring? 

Connecticut lovebirds Ashley Norris and Rachel Arbit have allowed us to do just that, with the help of photography company, Paparazzi Proposals. They secretly snap photos of couples proposing, to capture the moment they decide to spend the rest of their lives together.

Each proposal is special and unique but Ashley and Rachel have more reason than most to be celebrating – they are the first same sex couple to have their proposal captured on film so they can share their proposal with each other – and the rest of the world.

At the moment, Ashley and Rachel live in Connecticut, but if they move to another state their marriage will no longer be legally recognised.

“Marriage is definitely a national issue, and it should not be addressed at a state level,” says Ashley, who first got in touch with Paparazzi Proposals.

“Same sex couples should be able to marry the love of their lives and the Federal Government needs to recognise and address marriage”. We don’t get all the benefits that as humans, as Americans, we should be entitled to.”

New fiancée Rachel was thrilled when her girlfriend got down on one knee. The couple had talked about marriage, but the proposal still came as a shock. “I had NO idea!” she said. “We’d talked about being married, but I had no clue – not that day, not that way.”

“We’re an interracial, interfaith, gay couple, so we have a lot of complexities, so I hope people will be able to relate to at least one of us! It’s not only about gay marriage, it’s about making differences work – a lot of different couples, not just gay couples, will be able to relate to us and know where we’re coming from.

“I would love to convey the message that it does get so much better. The wheels of social change can be slow, but things do change. I can’t wait for what is to come. I can’t wait to start my life with Ashley and to be married, and be a family.”

The shift in attitudes towards same-sex marriage has made waves, not just in the political landscape of the US, but in the wedding industry as a whole.

Director of Paparazzi Proposals, James Ambler, says he is excited to be part of the industry at such an exciting time.

As more states change the law to legalise same-sex marriage, he is getting more enquiries from gay and lesbian couples asking him to photograph their engagement. He said: “We really hope that with this proposal we can encourage other young same-sex couples to make a point of making their engagement a big statement, to generate more awareness about how marriage has to be made legal in all states and across the world.”

“We just love to capture the moment between two people in love taking that amazing step together, regardless of gender,” he added. “I really hope that in America at least we are just a few steps away from having a united same-sex marriage policy.”

Jewelry companies throughout the US are also gearing up for the change in attitude. As more states allow same- sex marriage, jewelers are receiving more requests for matching engagement rings. 
“We both want to get different rings,” said Rachel. “Our styles are really different and we want to get rings that are representative of our personalities. We both want to mark that we’re engaged with a physical sign.”

Michael Regan and Jennifer O’Sullivan, of Little King Jewelry, first made a set of custom-made jewelry for a same-sex wedding in 2002, when they made matching angel wing cufflinks for two grooms. Since then, many couples have asked for many combinations of engagement rings and wedding bands.

Jennifer said: “We never made a decision to sell to same-sex couples, the same way we never made a decision to sell to different sex couples, or different race couples, or different religions. People are people, and our motivation has been to serve people who want to make a commitment to each other, no matter who the other person is.”